Thursday, August 14, 2014

9 Years Later, Finally Home

I never imagined that living right next to the interstate could ever be so peaceful. The evening of the welcome home party the first thing on the agenda for Capria and I was to set some strict boundaries for Joshua and Hakeem. Letting them know that Francis Drive is our home and we have to take care of it by being gentle with the structure and keeping ourselves and the furniture clean. First question was...what is the structure? So maybe I should have just kept it simple.

That night we stayed up late walking around as if the house was a museum. It had not yet settled in that this was where we were going to be living. After all, only one of us had ever lived in this house before.  I for one stared at the energy efficient light bulbs in the ceiling with thoughts of all the folks who made it happen. 

The boys absolutely love it that they have a space without daddy all up in their business...for now that is.  As a family we have watched television maybe a total of four hours since we have been here - I love it. It allows the boys to become creative with all the new things "Da Design Angels" put in place for them.  We have made it our own with projects outside the house, although that's been short lived with all of our schedules colliding. It seems all the work put in by SBP leaves me with nothing to try and fix. Clothes are how everyone has seemed to personalize the house. I'm sad to report that pictures remain in the electronics that store them, but we did purchase a new mailbox online! It's been sitting for 2 weeks - lacking the time to properly put it up. 


Harold's Family - Thanks Lexie Cole Photography!

We spend time together preparing meals and actually sitting down at the dinner table talking and making funny faces. The dining room has been one of the most consistently used areas for homework and food.  SBP thank you so much for everything. The work is so professionally executed. Had it not been for SBP, I would have never met the awesome volunteers from across the country to make this project a reality for my family. SBP provided the framework for us to live and The Design Angels supplied us with the tools we needed to succeed. We’re all so organized from the specific furniture pieces they put in the house.

Marriage is awesome with my best friend. We learned we are both clean fanatics!

It means so much to be back in this neighborhood. There's a quiet movement of people that care just as much as I think I do: the house around the corner that was falling is torn down; other folks are working to reestablish their homes on our street; the council person for the area asked if I could come up with some initiatives for our part of the city improvement process. 

SBP THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP! I'M SURE THE REST OF THE CITY CAN ECHO THAT PRAISE!


To help SBP bring more families like the Bailey’s home, spread the word that there is still work to be done! Please consider donating online at www.stbernardproject.org/donate or by mailing a check to 8324 Parc Place, Chalmette, LA 70043

Thank you to Event Pros Take Action and Rentals Unlimited for making this dream for the Bailey Family come true!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

House

Left frightened alone beaten, and abused in the dark controlled by the manipulation of the muddy flood waters, for years I cried so many tears,
Broken bones, bruised veins, and left exposed for all to see,
It is a life long memory of misery,
Feeling defeated when things remained the same,
Drawing some strength from how I still remained,
Oh my empty hollow shell,
Waiting to be clothed, waiting for rescue,
Alone thirsty, naked, and unfed,
Just keep waiting for a roof to put over my cracked head,
Then finally out of nowhere,
Came the people, from everywhere,
With hammers, bright smiles, and drills,
Oh what a thrill,
A ray of hope,
A touch of kindness all over my frail fragile body,
The people dress me, caress me, and even perfect me,
The people gave me water to drink,
Now I can think,
Restored my pipes,
Now I can sing;
Lord when they put that hat on my head,
I woke up from the dead,
SBP I just want to thank you. Thank you! Thank you!

Elaine Vigne
4/9/2014

Elaine was an AmeriCorps member for SBP NOLA, serving in our Client Services Department.  She wrote this poem shortly before her term ended.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sea Bright Rising




St. Bernard Project is excited to announce the recent partnership with Sea Bright Rising, a community based non-profit organization, established in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Sea Bright Rising is committed to the relief of Sandy survivors and general recovery efforts in the Sea Bright community. Since it’s founding in 2012, Sea Bright Rising has been on the ground working in the community and successfully raised over $1,300,000 in donations to support their local relief efforts. SBP’s East Coast Operations expansion to serve New Jersey communities will enable us to serve more residents and families who are still displaced more than a year later.

On Wednesday, March 26th, 2014, we officially launched operations to serve Sandy survivors in Sea Bright, New Jersey and celebrated the partnership with our new affiliate, Sea Bright Rising. This partnership will implement a residential rebuilding program and focus on serving community residents still waiting to return home. In 2014, Sea Bright Rising will rebuild 30 homes in the area. The program will serve homeowners who own their homes but lack the financial resources to rebuild of their own. Sea Bright Rising will use SBP’s proven effective model to provide a clear, prompt and efficient path to recovery for homeowners in Sea Bright and the surrounding communities in need. We are extremely excited to help local New Jersey residents rebuild their homes and their lives. To learn more about Seabright Rising, please visit http://seabrightrising.org/, on Facebook.com/SeabrightRising and on Twitter @SeabrightRising.       

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Martin Luther King Day of Service

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." For the past 20 years, America has recognized each third Monday in January as a national day of service. MLK Day of Service is considered a “day on, not a day off” especially by SBP.     


The SBP-NY regional team is happy to celebrate the impactful contributions of renowned civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who dedicated his life to achieving equality and eradicating social injustices. SBP certainly shares Dr. King’s vision of a “beloved community”.


The Corporation for National & Community Service acknowledges the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. annually through nationwide community service projects. This year, SBP-NY’s AmeriCorps and regional staff teams will honor the visionary leader by participating in meaningful rebuilding activities in Rockaway.



“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This MLK Day, the SBP-NY regional team encourages you to pledge your advocacy for communities and citizens in need. More than 40 years after passing, Dr. King’s legacy lives on through his example of incorporating community service in our daily lives. Thank you Dr. King for your incomparable leadership and devotion to social justice. To learn about SBP-NY’s direct rebuilding efforts, please visit our website at sandy.stbernardproject.org.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! The SBP-NY regional team is excited for 2014! Each new year presents opportunities, resolutions and new beginnings. In keeping with the spirit of giving, SBP encourages you to let your new year’s resolutions include serving those impacted by disaster. Neighborhoods across the New York region are still struggling to recover and rebuild.

In less than 8 years, SBP has become a model for disaster recovery. The SBP-NY team is undoubtedly committed to helping survivors of natural disasters like the Kase family return home. The Kases’ journey has not been easy but they were able to return home just before the holidays! Rockaway residents for over twenty years, the family is very appreciative of the AmeriCorps members who worked tirelessly on their home. They made personal connections with volunteers that are invaluable and noteworthy. Last year proved successful for SBP as we rebuilt over 60 homes in Staten Island and Rockaway.

In 2014 SBP will rebuild 120 homes, 60 in Rockaway and 60 in Staten Island. SBP is especially excited about the new partnership to rebuild Sandy damaged homes in Sea Bright, New Jersey. This great opportunity will allow SBP to expand into New Jersey and help more impacted communities in the region.

This year, SBP urges you to remember those still in desperate need. We have more than 300 families that remain on our waiting lists. Please consider donating or volunteering with us! Please visit our website: sandy.stbernardproject.org for more information on how you can help Hurricane Sandy survivors!


Monday, December 23, 2013

SBPNY Home for the Holidays!


More than a year later, Superstorm Sandy’s destructive impact is still being felt by hundreds of hardworking NY families. In 2012, St. Bernard (SBP) expanded operations from New Orleans to New York to rebuild homes that were devastated by the storm. To date, SBP has rebuilt more than 60 homes for families in Staten Island and Rockaway who cannot afford the cost of rebuilding on their own. SBP believes this is a solvable problem!
St. Bernard Project-New York (SBP-NY) is excited to announce our Home For The Holidays Campaign, a cause that will aid struggling families who will not celebrate the holidays at home this year. This year, families like the Kases are grateful for SBP-NY’s support in their home rebuilding process. Like the Kase family, all of our clients embody resilience, hope and courage. SBP asks for your help to bring a family back home for next year’s holiday season. Please help us return these families home for holidays in 2014! As many residents are still facing obstacles to recovery in Staten Island and Rockaway, this is an opportunity to help the more than 300 families on our waiting lists.

It's easy to give the gift of home to Sandy survivors this holiday season! Here are a few ways you can support SBP-NY’s Home For The Holidays Campaign:

1. Make a donation to SBP in lieu of holiday gifts
  • SBP will acknowledge your gift with holiday cards, volunteer opportunities, recognition on our social media platforms and updates on the family you are generously supporting.   

2. Host a holiday party to benefit SBP and support rebuilding costs
  • SBP provide will invitations, information about SBP and our clients for your attendees and SBP holiday decorations.

3. Donate

To learn more about Home for the Holidays, visit: sandy.stbernardproject.org/homefortheholidays

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Orleans Still Has Not Healed

This is a guest post by Lindsay Levin, an SBP volunteer and a small business owner and Kindermusik educator in Northern California.

On a recent trip to New Orleans, my best friend and I decided to visit the homes affected by Katrina. We worked with St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit that has rebuilt over 435 homes in the Greater New Orleans area. For my friend, a full-time philanthropist, our visit served as yet another passionate and energetic endeavor to give back. For me, an exhausted business owner, our visit was an opportunity to see if I could rise above the numbing sense of helplessness brought about by the sheer magnitude of the disaster long enough to make a difference.

We drove up to the home of Allan Francis and met his case manager, Sister Frances. At first glance, the house seemed abandoned – another deserted victim of the storm. The windows were boarded up; the house lacked insulation, paint, and even floorboards. This house is $42,000 away from being completely finished, allowing his household of three hard-working adults and two small children to live in a place they can call home.

Mr. Francis is a New Orleans native who spent much of his youth supporting and caring for his younger siblings, Chevelle, 21, and Cherelle, 18. Despite the setbacks of growing up in a tumultuous home and spending his young adulthood displaced by Katrina, Mr. Francis has always had a job and passed along his work ethic to his younger sisters, both of whom are gainfully employed. Earning minimum wage salaries, Mr. Francis and his sisters managed to save over $5,000 to purchase this home last July. Without Allan's purchase, the home would most likely have been auctioned off or demolished.

Mr. Francis salvaged and refinished the house's beautiful front door, fixed the fence in the back yard, and invested time and money into electrical and plumbing for the house. "[Finishing this home] would mean so much," says Mr. Francis. "It would mean giving my little nieces a stable place to grow up, not like me and my sisters." Mr. Francis is still scrimping and saving to help make his dream a reality. "People [in this neighborhood] are working and really trying. Since I purchased the house in July of last year, I've been saving, living paycheck to paycheck. Me and my sisters have been putting every dime into this project."

The house is a symbol for the quietly fighting spirit of the Francis family, and we realized we could help make this rebuild complete. I pledged the first $100, and Anna volunteered to donate $2,000. That leaves $39,900 needed for building supplies to get Mr. Francis and his family home. You can help, too!

Volunteers from around the country enthusiastically await the opportunity to rebuild homes like Mr. Francis’, but St. Bernard Project needs to raise the funds first. Join us in helping rebuild homes and lives by donating to SBP. Until all of the families are home in New Orleans, the city’s social fabric will not be healed. Please email Ashley Bellant or call 504-277-6831 for more information about how you can help SBP bring families like Mr. Francis’ home!